Sister Stockholm Syndrome

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My poor son just happens to be cursed.

The boy has been afflicted with 3 older sisters.

Well, one actual birth sister and 2 step-sisters, but in our house, a sister is a sister. Titles aside, they all torment just the same.

He has a step-brother, too, who sometimes crosses the line from simple sibling aggravation into straight up bullying. We put a stop to it when we know about it, but under threats of further torment, my son will opt to keep silent most of the time.

My husband has theorized, however, that some sibling oppression is good for the boy. Character building, in fact. So, he’ll often respond to my distress over any given situation with, “Well, my brother tortured me as a kid. I turned out just fine and still love him very much. Besides, he needs to toughen up a little.”

I just huff exasperatedly and shake my head at him.

We will probably never see eye to eye on the subject, but hey, I’m an only child so my views are naturally going to be different.

Anyway, I believe that the boy has weighed his options and realized that sister torture is marginally less painful than brother torture, so he’s decided to let the sisters do to him what they will and go with the flow.

I think he was conditioned by the girls at a young age when they made the assessment that he was a living doll put on this earth strictly for their personal entertainment, and would put him in dresses, complete with hair accessories and jewelry to match.

I would peek in on them to find them all staring up at me; the girls with big cheeky grins, and the boy in full female regalia with a defeated look on his face.

Over the years he’s been dressed up, made up, had his eyebrows plucked, his hair sculpted, his nails painted, and countless other atrocities committed against him compliments of his sisters.

When I would find him in such predicaments, I would go and get my camera to the tune of his screaming admonitions, “NOOOOO, MOMMY!! NOT FACEBOOK! YOU CAN’T PUT ME ON FACEBOOK!!!”

After a while, though, he gave up when he learned that Facebook was an inevitable fate.

Now he doesn’t even try. He has adopted a “just do to me what you will” attitude with his sisters, and even plays into their little brother bothering games with enthusiasm most of the time.

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This could mean one of 2 things. Either he’s been tormented by his sisters so much that he honestly genuinely enjoys it now, or it just proves how smart the boy is, because he knows that if he’s not acting like their antics annoy him, they’ll give up on him out of boredom.

If the former is the case, I see therapy in the boy’s future.

If the latter is the case, then…

Well played son, well played.

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Unconventional Canines

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I’ve always been a dog lover and even used to want one of my own.

I’ve filed that idea away for the time being, though.

My husband had said no to a dog for many years because of his allergies. Then one day, out of the blue he agreed that I could finally get the Dachshund that I had always been begging him for, as long as he didn’t have to walk it or clean up after it. I said, “What about your allergies?” To which he replied, “Benadryl.”

So, I had immersed myself in a search for a canine companion. I had been searching rescue websites and asking around for about a week, when 2 things happened.

First of all, Ray happened. Ray Darr. The rabbit that, I have surmised, was probably found abandoned because Satan had thrown the hairy little troublemaker out of hell. My husband declared that if Ray stayed, the idea of getting a dog was out.

Then my step daughter’s dog Athena came to spend a night at our house.

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When I stuck my head into the girls’ room that night, the smell of dog was so overwhelming that my anxiety went through the roof. That’s when I realized that while I may have made great strides of improvement in the OCD department, my issues still weren’t ready to face dog ownership.

I was rather saddened by this until my daughter pointed out that we do, in fact, have dogs. Two of them. They just don’t bark or need to be taken outside regularly like your customary canines, which makes them that much better.

You see, Ray Darr thinks he’s a dog.

He digs holes:

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Yeah, don’t try to look innocent.

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He goes for rides:

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He gives kisses:

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He has his own harness and leash so we can take him for walks, where he knocks people down and jumps on them:

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Then, if he doesn’t claw the flesh right off your legs begging when he knows you have food of any kind, he just plain steals it:

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So you see he’s not really a rabbit, he’s just a rabbit-shaped dog.

And then there’s Lizzie:

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Now, don’t let her lack of fur fool you. She’s just your average pooch in so many ways.

She’ll flop down on top of her house for afternoon naps:

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She’ll lie in awkward positions:

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She’ll climb on top of things that she shouldn’t:

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(I guess the secret’s out. Now you know who writes most of my blog posts.)

She’ll knock stuff over and then look guilty:

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You can put food on top of her head and command her to stay:

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And she begs, too. Her tank sits near our dining room table, and at dinner time, she’ll rush over to the corner, mash her little face up against the glass, and start clawing until we notice her.

Then, either me or my bleeding heart, animal junkie daughter or will get her out and let her join us for dinner:

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Yep, that’s the dinner scene most nights at our house.

She’ll eat pretty much anything, too, because she’s just a dog in a lizard suit.

So I guess, in reality, I am a dog owner.

No matter how unconventional my canines happen to be.

Halloweening on a Budget

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Well folks, it’s almost that time of year again.

That time of year when our kids beg us for expensive costumes that they’re only going to wear for about 2 hours, while they go door to door begging for candy like a band of street urchins.

Now, the candy part I like. If I don’t send them out begging for candy, how else am I going to steal all of the good stuff like Kit Kats and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and leave them with junk like Necco Wafers and that nasty chewy peanut butter taffy? (Seriously people, stop even buying those things, they just end up in the garbage or at the end of some kid’s slingshot.)

It’s just the buying costumes part that tries to throw a monkey wrench into my devious, candy thieving plan. We haven’t been able to afford a store-bought costume in years, because we just happen to be certifiably, duct-tape-your-shoes, Ramen-five-nights-a-week, wear-your-undies-until-there’s-more-holes-than-actual-fabric poor. So, we’ve just managed to make do with what we have.

We’re so poor, in fact, that one year we cut some arm and leg holes into a trash bag, stuck some wadded up paper and wrappers to my son’s head, and took him to an upscale neighborhood, (you know, the kind where they give out candy that didn’t come from the dollar store) where he went door to door proudly proclaiming, “I’m poor white trash.”

Don’t judge. It worked. Not only did the kid win a costume contest that year, but he even got double the candy out of sympathy, and it only cost us a trash bag.

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So, lack of funding during this time of year has forced us to get quite imaginative when it comes to costume creating. Call it Halloweening on a budget. We make it work, though.

I thought I’d highlight a few of my favorite past costume creations for you; my adoring one and a half fans. In honor of the upcoming festivities.

May you be inspired.

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Let’s start with this work of art that we like to call “Stepped in Bubble Gum.” This one happens to be one of my all time favorites. It was cheap, easy, and won him another costume contest. One of his sisters had the pink shirt and pants already, and I drew tire tracks and footprints on them with a sharpie. We found the pink hat at the thrift store, and I sewed one of my old shoes to the top of it. Voila! The kid was transformed into a wad of ABC bubble gum. (That’s “already been chewed” for those who aren’t in the know.)

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We all know that money doesn’t grow on trees, but sometimes it does for Halloween!

I had alot of fun with this one. The fake foliage, headband, and play money all came from the dollar store. I got a pack of brown pipe cleaners from Wal-mart to twist into little branches, and we found the brown gloves at the thrift store. I sewed some of the leaves and money onto the finger tips of the gloves, attached the remaining leaves and money to the ends of the pipe cleaners, wound them around the headband to look like branches, and sewed a couple of the makeshift branches onto the shoulders of the shirt. I even found a rubber dragonfly hiding out in my bins of craft supplies, and sewed it to the front  of the shirt. All in all, we spent about 6 bucks to make this costume.

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This costume didn’t cost us a dime. She was going through a goth phase so she already had most of this stuff in her closet  anyway. She threw together a few of her items to make a dark fairy costume, and the wings just happened to be hand-me-downs that I found stuffed in the back of my closet from some Halloween years ago:

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I pieced that together, too, but don’t ask me what I was. No clue.

Oh, and by the way:

Tree hugging fairy!!!

Sorry, just had to throw that in there.

Moving right along:

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The Low Budget Ninja.

Michelle Phan (love her) has this awesome little YouTube video called “Be a Ninja In 30 Seconds…I Think“. She basically teaches you how to take a black t-shirt and turn it into an instant ninja mask. That’s what we did for this costume, and then we just went through closets until we found some black garb to complete the ensemble. He had the weapons already because, well…he’s a boy. Grand total spent on this costume: nothing.

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Uh oh. Looks like Mr. Ninja stepped in some gum.

Anyway…

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Who doesn’t love a zombie girl, especially when she’s eating her daddy’s brain? This corpsie cutie made her costume herself. She cut up a shirt and some jeans to look like they had slash marks, added some fake blood and face make up, and her undead look had suddenly come alive. This costume only cost a few bucks for a tube of fake blood and some face paint.

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The following year my daughter was going through an “Everything Batman” phase and decided that she wanted to be Batgirl. So, I got this little slip-type skirt that I cut up from the Salvation Army store for a buck along with the shirt which was 3 dollars. I got the fabric for 5 dollars at hobby lobby, cut out the wings, and sewed them along the side seams of the shirt. I then sewed the tips of the wings to a couple of her rings so that she wouldn’t have to hold them.  We found the mask for a couple of bucks at a Halloween store. She already had the belt which was a gift from her dad I think, and the boots were borrowed. We probably invested about 12 dollars total into making this costume, which is pretty good considering the fact that when we looked at Batgirl costumes in the store, they were 40-50 dollars! Yikes!

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What good is a superhero without her trusty sidekick?

I had found this plain green shirt and little red slip-skirt at the Salvation Army store for a few dollars as well. I cut up the skirt to match her batty counterpart’s ensemble. I bought some t-shirt paint at Hobby Lobby for 4 bucks and painted the Robin symbol on the front of her shirt. I then found some red, green, and yellow fabric pieces in the craft section of the thrift store that I used to manage. I used them to make the cape that I sewed onto the shoulder seams of her shirt, and also her green armbands, and her belt. The mask was a couple of dollars at Walmart, and she already had the boots. The total spent on this costume was around 10 dollars.

Off to fight some crime, ladies?

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Go get those candy bandits!

Alrighty then.

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Mr. Gangster here was a last minute throw together costume because we really had no other ideas. The pinstripe suit was given to him by some friends of ours, and I used an eyebrow pencil to draw on a snazzy little beard. Don’t worry son, you’ll be growing facial hair of your own soon enough.

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Last year my daughter opted for a mother nature look. I’d say we only put about 5 dollars into creating this costume with the purchase of the make-up. I used an eyebrow pencil, metallic gold eye shadow, and metallic green eyeliner to paint the design on her face. A friend had given her the fake fall leaves that she used to weave into her corded belt and make into a circlet for her head. The shirt and cover-up she already had, and the skirt was a part of my old renaissance costume:

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Uh…yeah. Old school.

And then there was Juliet:

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Okay. I’m no great seamstress, but with the added help of a plain white skirt and some gold-trimmed pink velvet ribbon, I managed to recycle an old church choir robe into a work of art. I accented the ensemble with a teardrop shaped pearl bead tied to a piece of gold ribbon to adorn her forehead. All of the items for this costume were found in the thrift store that I used to manage, so the only thing it cost me to make this costume was time.

Now, these last few low budget costumes weren’t necessarily for Halloween, but I’ll throw them in with the mix anyway because they were just so much fun to create:

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Even better than the Von Trapp family is…well…mine.

You see, we had this “World Nations” dinner at church and we were supposed to dress up in a costume that represented a country of our choosing. Since I’m of German decent, I naturally chose to piece together a few German costumes for the fam. All of the clothing and fabric that I used for these costumes I found in the thrift store. I sewed their cute little hats out of felt pieces and ribbon. I dissected an old fashioned ruffled shirt and added the sleeves to my vest and some of the lace to my step-daughter’s shirt. We found some plain white skirts that fit and used some gold cloth place mats as aprons. I made the suspender pieces out of fabric and wide ribbon and sewed them to pairs of shorts that we already had to make Lederhosen.  Ja!

And there you have it folks!

This year we’re working on an awesome Alice costume for my daughter. My son is going to be the Mad Hatter, and Ray Darr, the worlds worst excuse for a pet rabbit is going to be the March Hare.

Stay tuned for those pics. It’s going to be fabulous!

The Journey of You

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don’t be in such a rush.

Stay a little longer as a child.

Just yesterday I held you,

now your hand is on the door.

Tomorrow you will be off running wild.

 

 

To my daughter:

May you always know I’ll be here when you need me, and may God bless you more than you could ever dream.

The Journey of You

A blink ago my star was born.

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At one you held my heart.

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At two you were my little light.

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At three a work of art.

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I took a breath and you were four.

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Exhaled and you were five.

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At six I couldn’t love you more.

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Then seven had arrived.

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I turned around and you were eight.

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Turned back and you were nine.

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At ten you were my silly girl.

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Eleven you did fine.

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Age twelve had come and gone again.

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And So did age thirteen.

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At fourteen you were tomboy.

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At Fifteen a beauty queen.

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Sixteen is almost over now.

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And seventeen is here.

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When I blink again you might be gone.

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And that’s my greatest fear.

Happenings in the Hood: A Kitty Conundrum

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There’s an epidemic currently sweeping through the hood with a vengeance. I like to refer to this epidemic as “Stray Cat Fever”.

You see, the property that my husband manages has now become overrun with cats. You couldn’t even spit without hitting a feral cat. There’s probably around 2 dozen or so that hang around the breezeways, bushes, and air conditioning units; fighting, breeding, and throwing wild raucous parties until all hours of the night.

People around the property will put food out for them out of kindness, but of course it just keeps them hanging around.

One might wonder where they’ve all come from, but then when you take a closer look and see the various degrees of growth within the cat population you realize: there’s more kitty inbreeding that has taken place in recent months than you might find in even the most remote band of Ozarkian Hillfolk.

If you’ve ever thought that the stereotypical breeding rabbit tales held any measure of truth, I can assure you; they’ve got nothing on cats. A sweep of the bushes around the property on any given day will likely turn up a litter or two. I’ve lost track of how many litters of kittens we’ve found either behind AC fences, under bushes, under the propane tank, or even in the laundry room behind the washing machines.

We have been known to round up a litter occasionally and find them homes, but we’ve pretty much exhausted our supply of bleeding heart adoptees. Now my husband will generally ignore each new batch that he stumbles upon in hopes that they will eventually just wander away, but the epidemic has gotten so out of hand that it can no longer be ignored. Some of the smaller, not quite fully grown cats are getting up under the hoods of peoples cars and causing all sorts of mischief.

Yep, kitty population control has become quite a conundrum. There’s no real solution, either, as I found out after making a few phone calls today.

City animal control will come and round them up, take them to get fixed, and then bring them right back to where they got them from and release them. This will take care of the breeding problem of course, but then we still have a ton of feral cats running around the property.

It’s the only option we seem to have with the adult cats, though, so my husband intends to get animal control out as soon as possible to do what they do.

But then there’s the kittens.

After finding a fresh batch of kittens hanging out behind one of the buildings today, my daughter and I got this brilliant idea that we would gather them up in a box so that she could take them into the office with her and get her kitty fix for the rest of the afternoon.

I’ve had better ideas in my lifetime, believe me.

You see, my daughter just happens to be an animal addict. She’s a junkie for anything with 4 legs and a tail. If she goes for more than a few hours without loving on some critter, she visibly shakes and even drools a little until she can get her next dose of cuddles.  It’s a disturbing display, and I’m a terrible mother because I’ll actually feed her addiction.

Which I did as usual today.

So now we had this box of kittens that we’d gathered up, and my husband’s response to our box full of cuteness was, “You’re not putting them back on my property now that you’ve caught them!”

Uh oh. We weren’t thinking that far in advance when we just wanted to cuddle kittens.

Well then.

I made a few more calls and not one single animal adoption agency in Jacksonville will take in stray kittens because they’re all currently overrun with unwanted domestics. Humane society won’t take in drop-offs, either. They put you on a waiting list first, and then you’re likely stuck with the unwanted animal for weeks until they decide to take it.

Great.

So I tried one last number at about 5:30 today and got ahold of a lady that gave me some very helpful advice that actually worked!

She was with another adoption agency that of course could not take the kittens, either, but she was really kind and tried to help me the best she could under the circumstances. Here’s what she suggested I do:

“Don’t call the Humane Society, but instead take your box of kittens directly to their adoption center and tell them that it was left in the laundry room of the property. Inform them that they can’t stay there, and that you’re unable to care for them yourself for any length of time for whatever reason.”

Well, I didn’t need to come up with a reason as to why we couldn’t keep them. They really can’t stay with us; my husband is insanely allergic to anything with fur. We’re even pushing the limits of what his sinuses can handle by allowing Ray Darr, the world’s worst excuse for a pet rabbit stay in the girls’ room across the house.

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I really hated to lie about the rest, though, and don’t make a habit of lying. Lying is wrong and I know this. Telling this little fib to the Humane Society went against everything I stand for, but a bind is a bind and I had gotten myself into one. For the good of the helpless little critters in question, I did as advised.

The only other problem, though, was that the Humane Society closed at 6. After battling traffic to get there, we managed to make it with just 5 minutes to spare. They agreed to take the kittens after hearing our *gulp* lie, but there was no one left there to process the admission. So, the really nice lady that was closing up told us to bring them back first thing in the morning, and she would even leave a note explaining to the morning staff that we’d be bringing them in. She suggested that we maybe keep them in a bathroom or something just for tonight for the sake of my husband’s allergies.

So, until 11 a.m. tomorrow morning, we have a box full of kittens.

My daughter is floating along on a kitten high for the time being.

Cute little buggers, aren’t they?

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I bet they’ll have no problem finding homes.

Happenings in the Hood: Weave Got a Problem

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If you’ve been following along at all with the insanity that is my life, you’ll have read about the antics of one very umm…”special” woman in this story:

Happenings in the Hood: Entitled Much?

In a nutshell; I was still painting after regular work hours to finish a job one night when this woman that I had never met before saw me through the open window, and decided to make a very rude and ridiculous request…no…demand of me. She expected me to drop what I was doing; a job that needed to be finished yesterday, and paint her bedroom door because it was a beautiful natural wood color and she wanted it white. After arguing with me for several minutes, (actually, she argued. I responded very politely) I didn’t meet her demand and she stomped off cursing at me and calling me things colorful enough to make a street thug blush.

She proceeded to cause such a big stink over such a silly little thing, that the next day found her hurling obscenities across the parking lot at the Assistant Manager. Over a door. She was in and out of the office after that, still yelling and carrying on. My husband, (the Manager) told her that it was not an emergency and we would get to it as soon as we could. That wasn’t good enough, though, and she was still being so obnoxious about the whole thing, outside screaming in the parking lot, trying to attract attention and get other residents involved, that I was finally told to just go paint her door to shut her up. I haven’t wanted to do a job less in my life.

All was quiet after that, though. Painting her door seemed to have appeased her.

For about 2 weeks.

Now, I had already known that after that whole door fiasco we hadn’t heard the last of her. Call it a gut feeling. She just seemed rather…no…extremely unhinged and if she could get that wound up over a door, I could only imagine what would happen the next time something ruffled her entitled feathers.

Believe me, she didn’t disappoint either.

This past Tuesday, as I was engrossed in a new painting assignment, I heard such loud yelling outside that I assumed the closed windows in the apartment had suddenly turned into paper.

So I, being nosier than the cat that curiosity killed, went outside to investigate. I dialed my husband in the office as I went to let him know that a fight was ensuing somewhere on property. He assured me that he already knew and was about to come handle the situation.

The source of the yelling was coming from 2 buildings away. Miss Entitled was yelling obscenities at another woman in the breezeway and repeatedly screaming, “I want my money, I want my money.” So, naturally, I had assumed that this whole argument started over borrowed cash that hadn’t been paid back yet.

Wrong.

Apparently her very loud demand was aimed at my husband, who had still not come out of the office, but she was screaming these words at her neighbor across the hall.

You see, her mother had paid her rent several months in advance and Miss Entitled now wanted a refund so that she could move out. She wanted to leave because her neighbor had ticked her off. Given her recent history of unreasonable anger though, I wasn’t surprised that she was on the outs with her neighbor.

To get the full impact of the ridiculousness of the situation, though, I’ll need to backtrack to the previous Sunday when the fight had originally started. The following information was given to me by my husband as he received it from witnesses in the building and the innocent party that was involved:

Her neighbor went to start her car that day only to find that her battery was dead. So, she knocked on Miss Entitled’s door and asked if she would be willing to give her a jump start. Miss Entitled proceeded to launch herself into a fit of rage over the request. Her neighbor slowly backed away and said, “Nevermind. It’s fine. I can ask someone else to do it.”

It didn’t end there, though. Miss Entitled was relentless and started waging a half-crazed war against her neighbor that resulted in her wielding a knife and threatening to kill her, her kids, and her boyfriend. Her neighbor naturally called the police and was holed up in her apartment out of fear until they arrived, which was just in time to find Miss Entitled out in the parking lot attempting to slash her neighbor’s car tires with the knife that she was brandishing.

Miss entitled was arrested, and spent the next 24 hours in county lock-up. I had heard that her mother had paid her bond, which must have been true because here she was again, right back at it.

I couldn’t make out every word that she was screaming at her neighbor because a lot of it just didn’t make sense, but I’m pretty sure more death threats were wedged in among the stream of continuous profanity.

All of the sudden, I saw her neighbor come flying across the hallway with catlike swiftness and arms flailing so wildly that it looked like she had stumbled into a swarm of bees.

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For the next 3 minutes or so, all I saw was a blur of weave and 3 inch nails. I have to admit, I was highly entertained. If I were a betting woman, my money would have been on the neighbor.

I called my husband back and said, “You’d better get a move on. Things just turned physical.”

He came rushing out the door and yelled to his maintenance man across the parking lot to call the cops and come help him break it up.

His maintenance man was already one step ahead of him, though, and the cops were on their way.

When the 2 were finally separated, Miss Entitled came crawling out of the breezeway, most of her weave dangling off her head by the few strands that didn’t get pulled out, yowling like a cat in heat and screaming “Owwww! Ouch! Owwww!” at the top of her lungs to try and elicit sympathy from the parking lot full of onlookers that were now gathered to witness the event.

I have never seen such a pathetic display of drama in my life. It was clear that she was nowhere near injured except for maybe her pride, but she carried on as if every bone in her body had been broken.

It was about that time that it was made known that the police were on their way, which resulted in Miss Entitled switching gears and now walking around the parking lot yelling, “I ain’t goin’ back to jail. I just got out. I ain’t goin’ back!” I remained the innocent bystander, of course, but I wanted to yell back at her, “Then stop doing stupid stuff!”

I half expected her to take off knowing that the police were now en-route, but she stuck around and stood her ground on the false assumption that her neighbor would be the one being hauled away this time because she had thrown the first punch.

She spent the remainder of her time in my husband’s face screaming, “I want my money!” again until the cops came.

When the police finally showed up and got the story from the parties involved and several witnesses, they cuffed Miss Entitled and loaded her up in the cruiser again to the tune of her admonitions that it should be her adversary in the cuffs instead of her.

They booked her again on harassment charges though, and deemed that her neighbor was merely exhibiting self-defense because she, her children, and her family were once again being threatened by Miss Entitled.

She was released on bond paid yet again by her mother, (I’m seeing a pattern emerge with this entitled behavior here) and my husband received a call that night from the after-hours emergency service, informing him that she didn’t have her keys to get into her apartment. After asking the service to let her know that it was a $20 charge to go unlock her door, (as stated in the lease) he never heard back from her again that night.

The next day I showed up to work to find her back at it a third time. She was stomping back and forth between the office and her neighbor’s apartment, beating on her neighbor’s windows, screaming obscenities and calling her colorful names. I even shot some video on my phone of her carrying on. Fortunately, her neighbor wasn’t even home this time, though.

Come to find out, the night before, her apartment door had been kicked in and her TV was stolen.

This somehow became my husband’s fault, too, as she stood out on the sidewalk cursing his name at the top of her lungs, and screeching the accusation that he worked together with her neighbor to break in and steal her TV. Somehow the price of the TV went up with each accusation she hurled, too, until she decided that $2000 dollars was a reasonable price that my husband owed her for the 50 inch flat screen Wal-Mart special that everyone already knew her boyfriend broke in and took the night before.

We’re all fairly certain that she herself even orchestrated the theft. She was just trying to cause another scene now for whatever reason. Maybe somewhere in her delusional mind she actually though that she’d receive some sort of settlement cash from the office for her missing TV.

She was more or less told to take her complaints elsewhere by the Assistant Manager, though. She then busted out a window of a different neighboring apartment in her anger, and that’s when the police were called. Again.

They didn’t book her this time, though, probably because they were just as sick of listening to her as we all were, so they told my husband to just hand her walking papers right then and there.

The usual procedure is that he gives problem residents like this is a 7 day notice “without opportunity to cure”. This basically means they have 7 days to pack up their crap and be gone and there’s nothing that they can say or do about it, or else he starts eviction proceedings that will go on their permanent rental history. They’ll then be lucky to have anyone rent to them again if it goes to eviction.

However given the recent antics of this off-the-rails ghetto princess, the police told him to make an exception. He gave her written notice that she had until the end of the business day to get a U-haul and go.

So she did; relatively quietly, too, much to our shock. We all stood and waved goodbye with smiles on our faces as she and her U-haul drove off that afternoon. I did a little happy dance and went back to work.

My husband had 5 different residents come in and thank him for her removal that afternoon.

She hadn’t made any friends during her less than 2 month stay in the hood it seems.

I still wish her best of luck, though, and some much needed medication wherever she goes.

I Have Let You Go

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To the man that I know loves me:

I have let you go.

I know that it may seem silly to say this to you right now. You’re probably puzzling over what this could possibly mean. Why would I choose this moment in time to say this to you? You’re perfectly healthy. We’re the strongest in our relationship that we’ve ever been. There have been no threats of separation. No diagnosis of disease. Yet here I am letting you know that I have let go of you nonetheless, because I need to.

You know that I’m a worrier. There isn’t a moment when you’re not with me that I’m not worrying about what’s happening to you. Are you sick and we don’t know it? Are you safe? Are you paying attention when you’re driving? Are others watching out for you? Has someone pulled a knife on you? A gun? Threatened you? Hit you? Hurt you?

When I know that you’re on your way home and I hear sirens in the distance, the fear takes my breath away. I pray that it isn’t you that they’re coming for.

I have lived with this overwhelming fear for 11 years. I have lived in fear…for you.

So many times I have thought about what would happen if I lost you. I can never imagine this world without you. I can picture myself curling up and dying right along with you were you not to make it home to me someday. I always think that if I did not die, too, I would just shut down. Never get up again. Stop functioning at a normal human level. Cease to think, reason, or even move.

I admit that I’m co-dependent. I rely on you. You cook because you know I hate cooking. You always put gas in my car because you know I hate doing that, too. You pay the bills. You drive the kids around. You spoil me as much as our finances will allow. I often start to wonder if I might be taking you for granted. Then I think, “No. I always appreciate all that you do, I just don’t tell you enough how much it means to me.”

I could likely never put into words how much I do appreciate you. More than mere appreciation, though, what I feel for you is adoration.

Even after all this time, I am still completely head-over-heels, droolingly, babblingly smitten with you.

After 11 years together, I continue to look at you with stars in my eyes and butterflies in my stomach. I will watch you singing on stage, or working, or teaching, and think, “Wow. That’s my man.” Then this feeling of overwhelming need will wash over me. I don’t know what it is about those times that I can’t have you that make me desire you even more, but for some reason, it happens.

Yet I’ve been taught the evils of lust. So I have wondered, “Is it okay to lust after your own husband?” Surely that’s an exception, right?

Then I realized that my desire is not always purely physical. I sometimes feel a need just to be near you. Simply touch you. Just hear your voice. Know that your heart still beats. Feel your aliveness.

My love for you had crossed the line into unhealthy obsession. I knew it, and God knew it. As I looked at you on stage again today, and thought, “Look at that guy. He’s amazing, and he’s all mine!” I heard that still small voice tell me, “He is not yours to keep.”

You would think that those words would have crushed me, and maybe, had I had any farther to fall for you, I would have been hurt when I landed on the solid ground that I had just been knocked down upon. I could not have crawled any deeper down into my pit of selfishness, though, so those words had an effect on me that I would not have otherwise imagined that they could have.

You see, it all came to an end for me today. The fear of losing you. The fear of what the future holds. The fear that you will be gone from this world someday, it’s just a matter of when and where.

Understanding that you don’t really belong to me took a burden off my shoulders and freed me in a way that I had never thought possible.

I know that we aren’t promised tomorrow, but if something were to happen to you before the next sunrise, I now believe that I could make it through. Yes I would still mourn. I would hurt. The pain would likely stay with me for longer than I care to even think about.

But I would be okay. I would survive it. I would press on; because you don’t belong to me. Your life isn’t mine to hold on to. You are simply a loan that will need to be repaid someday, and when collection day comes, I will still be able to stand because you were never truly mine to begin with.

You will still hold my heart in the palm of your hand while you’re here, and I will likely hold yours as well, but I understand now.

It’s just for safe keeping until we move on from this world, and someday, we must.

I still love you just the same, and always will, but I’m letting you know that I’m okay with letting you go…

Because now I can.